When I think of a typical homeschool day I envision the 3 R’s, a science experiment and notebook page, some reading on the couch, looking at beautiful classic art postcards while listening to Mozart or Bach, making a few sketches ourselves, then spending the day outside playing. Every time we have tried to “do” health I get frustrated. I get the typical workbook/textbook health program, make them do it with me for a week, get really bored and drop it, even the activities. It finally occurred to me that I don’t study health that way, I don’t read government issued books, I read holistic health books. So why am I trying to guide my children to learn health that way. I like to think of our bodies as a whole rather than fragmented. When one of my kids has an illness, it’s a whole body issue. We begin filling him with vitamins and nutrients in the form of food and herbs from the local natural health store.
So when we read a book about health and it’s feeding us the pyramid propaganda, no wonder we get bored and quit. We know it’s not what’s best for us. If no one curriculum is right for every child, how could one diet, which is goes in our bodies and makes up our bodies, be right for every child? It’s not. Every human being needs different amounts of the 50 minerals and nutrients and it’s up to us to discover what we need to eat to feel our best. Some do good with organic yogurt and fruit in the morning, some feel better after whole grain toast with a little raw honey on top, or some cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts. What I know for sure is that none of our bodies were made to work at it’s optimum peak after a bowl of sugary cereal and milk filled with hormones and antibiotics (which non-organic milk has). When we used to eat those things we lived and breathed, but with one out of every 2 people dying of heart disease as an adult, and 10.9 million people getting cancer each year (statistics 1 and 2) I’m not going to continue feeding my family food that might kill us one day.
I couldn’t find any curriculum that fit our lifestyle. So I am making one, a program, as I go in order to teach my kids the truth about health, fitness, and things like the benefits of eating organic. We are making recipes, trying experiments, and gathering information that I hope helps them avoid some of the nastier diseases later in life. One of the best parts of my design is that my book will be less curriculum and more of a parenting guide. Health is a parent issue, not a school one. I mean, I guess anatomy is a school subject, but personal health is so individual that only a parent could know what their child needs. So as a parent’s guide, it’s natural and fits into our lives quite well. We are replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones- there’s nothing extra we have to do. And definitely no worksheets or textbooks.
Sometimes I feel as though I’ve wasted my life by not taking care of myself. It’s only been the last couple of years that health has been important to me. Chris and I are aware of the gigantic cost, financially, it takes to raise a family on a diet, but people make sacrifices for what they believe to be important. Some families want a huge house and that’s what they spend their money on- lots of room to grow and play. I can understand that. Others make the sacrifice to drive a nice car or pay for private educations, or take a lot of vacations. We have decided to live below our means and make room in the budget for grass fed beef, organic poultry and vegetables, and milks that are a little bit healthier than cow’s milk. I’m not saying we are perfect or that we get it right all the time. As I type this I am in the process of breaking a major sugar addiction. But I like to think that I am giving my kids the best start possible health-wise. We are investing in their health with our money and we are investing in their education with our time.
I am going to end the blog with a contradiction to all of this. We are not in control of how long we live. God is. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. I know stories of men, like Winston Churchill, who smoke, drank, and was obese his entire life and lived to be a very old man. Healthy people do get sick and die young. We don’t always know why. The Lord gives us wisdom and speaks into our hearts and I believe that’s where my convictions come from. I believe He speaks different paths into the hearts of every one of us. I have many wonderful friends who don’t live this lifestyle and we are non-judgemental of each other’s lives. That’s what tolerance is all about.
As I write and revise the children’s health book, watch for updates. I’ll be asking for advice and feedback as I share parts of it with you. Have a happy, healthy day!
1. The Optimum Nutrition Health Bible (for sale here http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Bible-Patrick-Holford/dp/1580910157)